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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : commentary September 25, 2016


4/11/2013 1:03:00 PM
My Turn: The Rodney Dangerfield of national monuments
Fred Shute
Resident of Rimrock

Montezuma Well can’t get no respect. Ever since some ignorant pioneer slapped on the name of an Aztec emperor who had nothing to do with the place, there has always been a bit of a background snicker going on. Har-har. Even the apartment building down stream that got stuck with the same miscognomen gets more respect - it, obviously is a castle!

Let’s face it, the Well is nothing more than a geological curiosity-it’s a “collapsed limestone cavern,” according to all the public relations statements. It’s just a sinkhole, or maybe it’s just a stinkhole.

With the threat of sequestration due to the political posturing of the ship of fools sinking in the Potomac River, obviously the National Park Service budget should be cut so we can save money to continue to murder people in foreign countries who have never done anything to harm us. And, apparently, the more than obvious consequence here is that Montezuma Well should be closed. It’s a freebee, so it doesn’t generate any income. And since the NPS does not want to lay off any employees they will transfer them to the other monuments and lock the gate. How does that save any money? What are the other major expenses of the Park? Electricity? I bet that is a budget breaker.

So, why is there not an entrance fee to Montezuma Well? I’ll tell you why - because it is not worth it-it is just a “collapsed limestone cavern”. It’s just a sinkhole. It’s just a stinkhole! One thing for sure when you give keep giving stuff away for free usually no one appreciates it-it has no value. You create a market for disrespect. Take Rodney Dangerfield’s wife for example. No, please take her.

The truth is, Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle, although superficially more dramatic archaeological sites, are just apartment buildings. Montezuma Well, along with the other parts of the Triumverant-Sacred Mountain and what is now called the V_V Petroglyph site, is the most important archaeological area in the Verde Valley - even more probably in Arizona and perhaps even the entire southwest. No matter what the drought conditions of the last eons, there was always water for sure at one place - Montezuma Well. This place is an ancient holy site visited by pilgrims and travelers since time immemorial. Don’t believe me? Ask the Hopi. Ask the Yavapai. Ask God.

Oh, Those beautiful Red Rocks over in Sedona! Oh so beautiful! And vortices and power spots everywhere. Bull. As a geologist who has spent a lot of my life studying this area I can tell you that due to the high concentrations of iron in the red rocks there are magnetic anomalies but the real power place in the Verde Valley, the real juice is to be found at the ancient holy place now called Montezuma Well.

MW has friends - the Friends of the Well. But when the Well was attacked by the desperate attempt to drill into the aquifer directly adjacent to the Well for a commercial water source that had the potential to capture the source water of the Well to the tune of over 1 million gallons a day, the FOTW testified in front of the Yavapai County Commissioners in favor of the commercial well. With friends like this who needs enemies.

The local communities of Rimrock and Lake Montezuma are almost completely unappreciative of the goose who could lay the golden egg in their community. The big thrust of the political establishment is always about property values and it is obvious that MW is in their way. If they could just pave the road through the National Monument and become more connected to Sedona they could make some good money! How many people in these communities even go to the Well? The picnic area is well used but other than that how many residents of the local communities have even been to the outlet or climbed down inside? Maybe 25 percent.

Montezuma Well is much more than a “collapsed limestone cavern.” It is not just a sinkhole and it is not a stinkhole. It is time for the NPS to acknowledge the value of this sacred place and set up a program to charge admission. And it is time for the communities of Rimrock, Lake Montezuma and McGuireville to stop taking this golden goose for granted.

Montezuma Well deserves some respect.



Fred Shute is a resident of Rimrock.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Article comment by: How revealing...

...of so many unfortunate mindsets, these comments. Seven of them, and not one of them -- not ONE of them -- acknowledges the fact that this amazing natural phenomenon is considered a sacred site to several Native American tribes.

That would be because this fact doesn't MATTER to any of you characterizing it in such condescending ways, right? And what's the rationale there, I wonder? That they're "conquered people" and thus appropriately meant to be subjugated to our values, I suppose... How ignorant.

The Rodney Danger field site indeed. Shame on you, Fred Shute.


Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: A Hole In The Ground

It's a hole in the ground, a collapsed cavern. It's value is the water. My last visit was in November with friends. Their reaction is the same as mine. It is a big green stinky hole but the aquifer beneath is probably worth tapping. One of those friends is a geologist from another state.
Park status? Absurd. Entrance fees? Even more absurd. Sir, I honor your opinion, but I can not agree at all. It should be a water source, commercial or public and used for what others have used it for....simply water.


Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: Seth Pierce

I think what many people don't realize is that the well is home to several unique species and several endemic species (means they are only found and live at the well), and is a highly studied area. That in itself makes Montezuma's Well a significant place in the world.

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: Kayo Parsons-Korn

I also found this My turn totally offensive. Please see my comments and others at the Bugle:
http://cvbugle.com/main.asp?SectionID=36&SubSectionID=996&ArticleID=38037

Why the Bugle and Verde Independent comments on a given story are not combined is beyond me. How about looking into that guys? I take it you are using the same database. If the issue warrants posting in both papers, you might as well keep all the comments in both papers.


Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: john m Cheeseboxcrew

Thank you, Offending people doesn't help your cause.
The article increased my anxiety which only wastes energy and makes one want to get away from the subject.
Due to yur input, I have learned from this experience.


Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

You can tell a National Socialist by three things. First they always discuss federal issues and are often trying to get you excited about them. Secondly, they love institutions. They say things like "make it a crime" and "cops in schools". Lastly they loath their fellow Arizonans and will not pass up an opportunity to label them as 'druggies' of 'idiots' or 'losers'. One thing is for certain is that we don't need any of these people in public office.

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: markus anderson

Fred Shute sure can get his digs in on his political standing when talking about a geologic anomaly. I am sure Fred is up to date on his PBS membership dues.

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: Offending people doesn't help your cause

This is one of the most offensive My Turn's I've seen written in a long time.

Disrespecting anyone and everyone is no way to get your point across. Making up words like "miscognomen" (how 'bout "misnomer" instead?) only undermines your credibility as a reliable source of information.

Readers should be assured that Montezuma Well, which has National Monument status and is under management by the National Park Service, is permanently protected by comparable federal laws as Grand Canyon or Yellowstone.

Readers should also be assured there are far more remarkable attributes and unique qualities to Montezuma Well than are mention in this angry piece.

Having a chip on your shoulder doesn't take you very far in life. Having a positive and constructive approach works much better.




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